NEW DELHI: After dialogue with the protestors against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant failed to yield results, the government initiated steps to throttle the fund flow, especially from foreign donors, into the NGOs suspected of actively aiding and abetting the resistance movement that has delayed the commissioning of the two 1,000 MW reactors in the plant by over three months.
According to sources, a team from the Union Home Ministry undertook a ground-level investigation into the activities of the NGOs which are said to be fuelling the protests, in which the local fisherfolk have been taking part. “It was after the team visit that groups were identified and their financial dealings and funding patterns looked into,’’ a senior MHA official said.
Under the scanner of the MHA are no less than 12 NGOs, six of whom have been served notices freezing their bank accounts as well as cancelling the Home Ministry clearances which allow them to receive foreign funds. The MHA clearances were given for 2011-12.
Sources said that the MHA sent a notice, on January 11, 2012, to the concerned banks freezing accounts of two NGOs—Tuticorin Diocese Association and Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society—administered by Bishop Yuvan Ambrose, of the Roman Catholic Diocese.
It’s not unknown that Bishop Ambrose has been actively involved in the anti-nuke protests at Koodankulam. In fact, sources said that his Tuticorin Diocese has resisted intervention from the Catholic Bishops Council of India which asked him to explain his case after the MHA crackdown. Interestingly, MHA sources said that the letter sent to the banks freezing the accounts “nowhere mentions Koodankulam’’. Instead, it has been observed that since the NGOs have indulged in activities that are not in line with the reasons shown for the foreign funds, “the Central Government was prohibiting them from receiving foreign contribution’’.
Talking of PMANE’s S P Udayakumar, top PMO officials said, “He and certain members in the protest group are not willing to listen to reason. Talking to them was like talking to the wall, they came with one agenda of stalling the (Koodankulam) project and was interested in any explanation or dialogue.’’